By Annie Pettit and Gloria Watson 

We’ve all been there. We’ve all written 60 page or 100 page reports for our clients only to find out that the report was relegated to the bottom drawer of the most inaccessible filing cabinet in the building, or lost in an inbox of five thousand unread messages never to be searched for. We know that every research report is chock full of impactful nuggets of insight that would enable better business decisions so how do we make sure those nuggets aren’t lost?

Well, one thing we can to is to ensure those research results are so engaging they’re impossible to put down. We recently conducted a food study to help a client gain a holistic understand of the changing marketplace and how their brand fit into their consumer’s lives. At the end of the study, we’d discovered a number of insights that would change the way they did business and we wanted to make sure those nuggets would be impactful. We could certainly write about those insights on pages 32 to 36, on page 44, 51, and 63, but we know what happens to a lot of written reports. With that in mind, we approached the report from a different angle.

First of all, we did indeed create the 80 page report. This was essential because the brand manager would need to refer back to the nitty gritty details numerous times over the coming year. And, knowing that recall deteriorates over time, we included a wide array of images from consumption diary and in-home interviews to ensure the brand manager would be able to empathize with their target consumer 3 months or 6 months down the road after they’d been immersed in other projects along the way. No matter when the brand manager referred back to this study, the images would instantly bring our words to life and help the brand manager step back into the shoes of their target consumer.

Second, we created a professional quality, one page infographic using imagery and tight messaging to clearly communicate the important results of the study. Not only would it look impressive framed on the brand manager’s office wall, it would also give the executive management team a comprehensive understanding of the main issues they would need to act on. It was quick and easy to read and digest.

Third, using at-home videos we recorded of the research participants, we created a summary video highlighting the most impactful points of discovery. As with many qualitative projects, these consumer videos brought insight to life by showing the calm and the chaos of consumer homes, and the real life words of consumers, with grammatical nuances, slang, and emotion. We couldn’t let the raw power of these videos slip away simply because the coding and analysis was complete.

In the end, the research report was more than just a written report. It incorporated components that would appeal to any user, regardless of seniority and learning style. Senior executives and brand managers had access to the level of detail that would best suit their business needs. Visual learners, audio learners, and written word learners could choose the type of results that resonated with them the most. It was a win, win, win situation.